CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: As promised by President Vicente Fox, a postponement of Mexico's Shark Norma 029-2000 was published in the official government document, Diario Oficial, last week, putting the highly-contested new fisheries regulation on hold, but only until November 12.
Conservation activists, the ruling Comite Consultivo Nacional de Normalizacion de Pesca Responsable, and non-government organizations such as Amigos del Mar de Cortez have begun working feverishly to formulate proposals for changes to the Shark Norma, which is widely seen as a ploy by the Mexican Department of Fisheries to increase the "by-catch" of tuna and reserved game fish such as marlin, sailfish, and dorado, under the guise of fishing for shark. The Shark Norma would allow the use of large commercial longlines and gillnets as close as 1 kilometer from shore, and inside the Sea of Cortez.
After 86 percent of respondents voted against the Shark Norma during a national television broadcast, the Mexican Senate voted unanimously against it. President Fox agreed to postpone the Shark Norma last week, after he was confronted with demonstrations and a blockage of the main highway near San Jose del Cabo, and he promised that the new regulation would not go into effect until it was brought into conformation with sustainable fisheries management practices.
More demonstrations against the Shark Norma were expected during next month's crucial Asian Pacific Economic Conference (APEC), scheduled in Cabo San Lucas on October 21-27, which will be attended by foreign ministers and heads of state from about 20 nations, including Mexico and the United States.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Accelerating catches of gorilla yellowfin tuna to over 200 pounds led the charge at the tip of Baja California last week, as striped marlin numbers finally slacked off in water temperatures approaching 90 degrees.
Meanwhile, the Cabo cruiser fleet racked up another gigantic summer fish, this one a 700-pound class blue marlin reported by Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters for the Ursula IV.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landry of Fly Hooker Sport Fishing said: "Yellowfin have been the high point of the week, from 16 to 40 miles out, on the cooler side of the temperature break, and all mixed with porpoise. The first few boats to the schools have been able to get fish and some of them have been big ones! I have seen fish this week running to 200-plus pounds and some boats have gotten more than one of these larger fish. Marlin lures and live baits have been the ticket."
Cabo weather was hot and muggy, up to 100 degrees and about 70 percent relative humidity, Landry said, with mostly flat seas, and water temperatures ranging from 84 to 88 degrees on the Cortez side, and up to 83 degrees on the Pacific side. Striped marlin and dorado numbers were slightly down.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At midweek, Cabo Magic's Tommy Garcia reported that his flagship boat Cabo Magic had landed 6 yellowfin tuna over 100 pounds in a single day for the James Kennedy group from New York and Maryland. The top sushi fish weighed 248 pounds. Garcia said, "Yaaaahhhhooooo! We all wish this were the W.O.N. event!" referring to the Western Outdoor News Tuna Jackpot Tournament scheduled at Cabo San Lucas on November 6-9.
At Cabo Magic, 42 boats chartered during the week had a combined catch including released fish of: 24 striped marlin; 6 blue marlin, 280 to 300 pounds; 4 sailfish; 5 wahoo, of 30, 40, 60, and 80 pounds; 35 yellowfin tuna, including 12 over 100 pounds; 40 dorado to 65 pounds; and 5 skipjack.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Picante Fleet, 4 boats chartered Friday had a combined catch including released fish of: 3 striped marlin, 6 dorado, and 9 yellowfin tuna. Picante Fleet's top fishing day was on the Picante Dream with Capt. Eulogio Zumaya and angler Jeff Cobb, who landed yellowfin tuna of 40, 60, 75, and 175 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: About 250 other private and charter boats had a combined catch including released fish of about: 96 striped marlin, 51 blue marlin, 11 sailfish, 94 dorado, and 266 yellowfin tuna, including many fish between 130 and 200 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: One of Solmar Fleet's top boats for the week was the San Lucas VII with Capt. Federico and anglers Milan Floribun and Thomas Crimson of San Diego. According to fleet manager Rene Santa Cruz, the San Lucas VII fished about 15 miles off the Old Lighthouse and landed a striped marlin and yellowfin tuna of 120, 240, and 180 pounds.
Santa Cruz said Solmar Fleet boats had a combined catch including released fish of: 30 striped marlin, 15 blue marlin, 4 sailfish, 29 dorado, and 35 yellowfin tuna.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on the 700-pound blue marlin landed by the Ursula IV, which he said was taken on 80-pound line after a 2-hour fight. Edwards said Gaviota Fleet boats fished mainly on the Pacific side, with a combined catch including released fish of: 1 blue marlin, 8 striped marlin, 3 sailfish, 2 wahoo, 11 dorado, and 24 yellowfin tuna.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Pisces Fleet, Tracy Ehrenberg said, "We had a great yellowfin tuna week, with some real size to these fish. Not only did we have a 174-pounder, we had several others that passed the 100-pound mark, with the average weight being 50 to 70 pounds, most being caught on the Pacific between Land's end and San Jaime."
Ehrenberg said dorado numbers were down slightly, but the average size is increasing, with solitary fish approaching 60 pounds being found. With the hot weather, increasing numbers of large blue marlin were also caught, she said, including a 475-pounder early in the week. Overall, 60 percent of Pisces Fleet boats caught billfish, and 88 percent scored on all species combined.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Anglers out of Bahia Todos Santos had good local bottom fishing and good offshore catches of albacore, bluefin tuna, and yellowtail.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet said his pangas scored limits on combined calico bass, rockcod, and lingcod, working the rocks around the tip of Punta Banda with swim baits and cut squid. Saturday was a bit windy and cool, Villarino said, so anglers should start bringing warm clothing as fall approaches. Punta Banda weather was cloudy and foggy, with water temperatures averaging about 65 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At midweek, trailer boater Barney Phillips had another good albacore run out of Marina Coral. "Mike at the bait receiver has mechanical problems with the bait boat," Phillips reported. "We left early at 3 a.m. to be sure we had some chum. Five miles out, the fog came down so thick we couldn't see the bow plank. We had to run on radar all the way to the 117 line before it lifted.
"We started fishing at 31:31 by 117:05 and by the time we reached the top north side of the 238 we began to suspect we had made a bad decision.
"We called Capt. Mauricio on the Shir Lee and received his report of a jig stop followed by 10 quality albacore on bait at 31:30 by 117:04. We decided to fish into the 238 then turn inside. Three miles short of the 238 we began to get jig stops but the fish wouldn't come to the boat. We picked up 3 nice bluefin and several albacore of 15 to 25 pounds, but nothing consistent.
"At 31:34 by 117:08 we began to get a better quality of fish but still nothing on bait. Finally at 31:34 by 117:05 we got a stop on nice albacore, that hung around the boat until we used our last sardine and all our remaining energy." Phillips said the water was deep blue and 64.5 degrees in rough conditions.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sergio's Sport Fishing Center reported late week offshore results: Ensenada Clipper with 8 anglers, 32 albacore, 8 bluefin tuna, and 18 yellowtail; El Cazador with 10 anglers, 38 albacore, and 3 bluefin tuna; Shir Lee with 7 anglers, 43 albacore, 24 bluefin tuna, 3 dorado, and 9 yellowtail.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet said the Tamara scored on 18 bluefin tuna only 9 miles from Isla Todos Santos on a heading of 255 degrees. The Amigo had limits of bottom fish at Punta Banda and the Soledad Reef, and the Lily found lingcod and 2 yellowtail to 15 pounds fishing locally with live sardines.
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Sam Saenz of Puerto Santo Tomas resort said windy conditions made fishing practical last week only up to about 1 p.m., in semi-foggy weather. "Two or three pangas went out this week," Saenz said, "bringing in primarily bottom fish, lingcod, whitefish, and calico bass. The surface bite for yellowtail still remains slow. The biggest fish caught was an 11-pound lingcod.
"Yesterday, an adventure kayak group from UCSD came in for camping and to paddle north to Punta Banda. They found more adventure than they were looking for. Sunday morning the winds picked quickly up to 30 m.p.h., and they had to come back. They will try again tomorrow." Puerto Santo Tomas water temperatures averaged 60 degrees.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas said 28 boats were chartered last week, and anglers found good fishing for albacore, yellowtail, some dorado, and a few bluefin tuna. Bottom fishing remained excellent on large lingcod and rockcod, although the weather turned windy at the end of the week under overcast skies. The albacore were running from 20 to 30 pounds, Hillis said, and one group of 25 anglers was brought in by Todd Pipe & Supply of Garden Grove.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Slowly warming water temperatures brought reports of dorado 15 to 20 miles outside the entrada, and tuna and marlin slightly farther out, reported Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly. Graham said fishing action also picked up in the mangroves, on snook to 10 pounds in the main channel south of Devil's Curve, and corvina at the pier and bridge coming into town. San Carlos weather was humid in the low 70s, with water temperatures of 67 to 78 degrees.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said water temperatures were in the low-80s, in hot, humid conditions, and good numbers of yellowfin tuna were being located with porpoise. "Most of this action was more than 15 miles offshore, so the smaller boats were just waiting for the fish to come a little closer," Brictson said. "Most boats targeting these tuna landed from 6 to 8 per day. The majority of the tuna have been small 5-pound footballs, perfect bait for trolling for big marlin."
Brictson said the traditional Gordo Banks big marlin season has started, with several blacks landed to over 400 pounds, and another close to 700 pounds landed by a 22-foot panga. The huge black was taken by Philippe and Gerald Desquesnes, twin brothers visiting from San Jose, California, Brictson said. "They were fishing with Capt. Augustine 'Brujo' Pino off the beach of Palmilla. The fish hit within ten minutes of the time they started to troll their live baits. The black hit a small skipjack rigged with 400-pound mono leader tied to 80-pound main line. The battle lasted some 4 hours and 10 minutes. The fish dragged the panga over 10 miles to the outside of Palmilla Point. The brothers had also caught a 250-pound blue marlin the day before with the same skipper."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Fishing action was steady on all species last week, in typical deep summer conditions. Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 263 boats chartered from combined fleets including the Van Wormer resorts of Palmas de Cortez, Playa del Sol, and Punta Colorada, with a catch including released fish of: 6 blue marlin, 19 striped marlin, 31 sailfish, 271 dorado, 450 yellowfin tuna, 1 pargo, 3 wahoo, and 3 roosterfish. East Cape weather was in the high 90s, with generally calm summer conditions, and water temperatures in the mid to high-80s. Yellowfin tuna were mostly footballs, with a few fish to about 100 pounds also landed.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Esaul Valdez of Buena Vista Beach Resort reported on 39 boats chartered with a combined catch including released fish of: 2 blue marlin, 3 striped marlin, 5 sailfish, 54 dorado, 36 yellowfin tuna, 9 roosterfish, 2 amberjack, 2 bonita, 1 ladyfish, 2 pompano, 12 triggerfish, and 10 skipjack. The offshore fish were generally moving and scattered.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Local angler Chuck Meredith said, "What I saw at the beginning of last week was a lot of really small tuna with only a few medium ones. Nice dorado, 3 or 4 to a boat. At the end of this week, the tuna were definitely bigger with several 130-pounders caught. One man spent 3 hours on his big one, and also had another one to the boat after another 3 hours pulling, when he broke the line. Friends, that's 6 hours of hard pull."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Tami Moyeous of Rancho Buena Vista said 15 boats chartered had a combined catch including released fish of: 4 striped marlin, 2 sailfish, 13 dorado, and 68 yellowfin tuna.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, John Ireland said water temperatures were as high as 88 degrees, with billfish and dorado biting throughout the bay, and tuna turning on and off during the week, mostly small fish, but with a few to about 80 pounds. Ireland said it was a good week for wahoo to 70 pounds that were hitting dark-colored Rapalas 1 to 2 miles off shore between Cabo Pulmo and Los Frailes.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: David Tang reported on a trip to Rancho Leonero with excellent weather and a good mix of fish, "nothing spectacular, but very steady," on yellowfin tuna to 70 pounds and dorado to 50 pounds, landed on hoochies and cedar plugs. Tang said his group of 6 anglers saw "lots of tuna under porpoise in the 20 to 30-pound range."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said the beach action continues "great" in the mornings and "good" in the afternoons, if the breezes aren't too strong. Graham said larger roosterfish are looking for mullet along Bartle Beach, and some large jack crevalle are in residence at Punta Colorada.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Pepe Murriete of Pepe's Dive Service said conditions in the Cabo Pulmo Marine Park are excellent, and he just missed photographing a tiny orange seahorse with white dots that was the smallest he's ever seen. He added that he's been having fun with a baby sea lion that grabbed his snorkel and swam away with it. Cabo Pulmo water temperatures were 88 degrees at all depths, with very clear 80-foot visibility.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport commented on the clear water and continued very heavy concentrations of sea life, saying, "Sometimes visibility is a little less because it's impossible to see through the huge schools of fish!"
LA PAZ, MEXICO: David Jones of Fishermen's Fleet said the summer weather was hot, with showers and lightning, and with "pretty darn good" fishing, including a steady tuna bite at Isla Cerralvo on fish to over 100 pounds. Dog snapper have been cooperating inshore, and some larger marlin to over 300 pounds have been released.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: At Tail Hunter International, Jonathan Roldan said things are starting to move on El Bajo on the La Paz side: "We're finally starting to see some life willing to chew a bait! Reports of larger tuna as well as billfish biters are starting to roll up so maybe...just maybe...we're gonna bust something neat in the very near future off that bank, which, to date, has really just been a big bust!"
On the Las Arenas side, Roldan called it "the best fishing all season."
"The panga fleets have finally hit their stride," Roldan said. "Our boats are getting bent on yellowfin tuna in the 40 to 50-pound class, but there have been larger fish into the 100-pound gorilla size! I had one of my skippers tell me that he would swear on a stack of tortillas that one of the fish would have gone 150 easy!" La Paz water temperatures were holding in the mid-80s.
LORETO, MEXICO: Loreto's hot dorado bite slipped a notch last week but still produced limits for most anglers on multitudes of fish averaging 20 to 25-pounds. Local guide, Paulino Martinez reported seeing "millions" of dorado on the surface in several large pockets north of Isla Monserrate, and Linda Ramirez of Alfredo's Sport Fishing reported clients continuing to limit on dorado, including one fish of 42 pounds.
LORETO, MEXICO: Resident angler Don Bear said he fished Wednesday and had to run south 41 miles before getting 5 dorado. Bear said the bite seems to be tapering off, based on his many years of fishing at Loreto, and comments from pangueros.
LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of Arturo's Sport Fishing said Loreto weather was in the mid-90s, and water temperatures averaged 87 degrees. Clients were fishing generally south and finding dorado to 25 pounds. Last week's local tournament had 75 participants, Susarrey said, and the winning fish weighed 40, 35, and 31 pounds.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Resident angler Ross White returned from a trip to San Lucas Cove saying he limited several days on dorado in the 20-pound range. "Open water trolling also yielded lots of nice size 3-foot sierra, and nuisance numbers of 5 to 20-pound black skipjack," White said.
"Near-shore trolling of Rebel Fastracs yielded more skipjack, sierra, spotted and barred sand bass and needlefish. Bottom fishing only added more spotted and barred sand bass, lots of nice triggerfish, and sculpin.
"All days were fishable. Days were in the high-90s and humid, nights down to about 75 to 85 degrees and, you guessed it, humid. Only one other angler was in camp.
"Midway in the week we were joined by 2 charter panga skippers from Mulege who trailered their pangas since their customers were getting tired of being beat up on the boat ride. They were having to go to the north end of San Marcos to get dorado for their customers."
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of Camp Gecko at Bahia de los Angeles said fishing was slow inside the bay. "There are few yellowtail," he said, "and most of them are in the 6 to 10-pound range, with some 20-pound fish mixed in."
Vazquez said the best fishing has been behind Isla Horse Head, at Punta Pescador to the south, and at the light-colored point on the northeast side of Isla Smith. Sierra were wide-open in the bay, if desired, plus lots of barracuda and some bonita, some nice groupers, and some goldspotted bass. Dorado were absent. Weather was in the low-90s, with water temperatures of about 81 to 84 degrees, both inside and outside the bay. The water is clear, Vazquez said, with visibility to over 40 feet.
The road was in very good condition, and gasoline is available in the village at 140 pesos for 5 gallons.
Vazquez also had some comments of the government's Escalera Nautica boondoggle project: "A lot of noise from the Escalera Nautica people these last few days, but nothing certain yet. They are considering changing the location to Punta Remedios instead of Bahia de los Angeles, because of the environmental issues that keep popping up. I guess at Punta Remedios they can mess up the environment and there won't be anybody to complain."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Tony Reyes of Tony Reyes Fishing Tours reported on a 6-day Midriff Islands trip by the panga mothership Jose Andres, returning to San Felipe on Sept. 13 with a catch of: 71 yellowtail, 20 to 36.5 pounds; 2 grouper, 50 to 58 pounds; 1 pinto bass, 25 pounds; 11 dorado, 14 to 28.5 pounds; 1 leather bass, 30 pounds; 86 cabrilla, 10 to 14.5 pounds; 7 red snapper, 9 to 13 pounds; 5 broomtail grouper, 10 to 17 pounds; 3 sheephead, to 8 pounds; and 165 spotted bay bass.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said very few anglers fished last week. Only 7 boats were chartered at Aries Fleet, with a combined catch including released fish of: 1 small blue marlin, 7 sailfish, and 7 dorado. Mazatlan weather was in the high-80s, with water temperatures in the low-80s. The best fishing was 20 to 25 miles southwest of Marina el Cid on a heading of 210 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters said variable weather hampered the fishing last week, but boats venturing out still reported 2 to 3 sailfish strikes per day, plus dorado to 35 pounds prowling trash lines washed into the sea by recent storms. Yellowfin tuna to 50 pounds were north, about 50 miles from shore, and the beaches were yielding some yellowtail jacks and roosterfish in difficult conditions. The best offshore fishing was 5 to 10 miles out of Zihuatanejo Bay.